DURHAM CITY manager Adam Furness feels his young team panicked when they were on the verge of causing a big upset against unbeaten Spennymoor in their 2,000th Northern League game.
City, battling against the drop, produced some superb football in a ding-dong game to lead 2-1 with 20 minutes left. But Moors showed their quality to win 3-2, to close the gap on faltering leaders Darlington to four points with three games in hand.
“I thought we maybe panicked a little when we got to 2- 1, and we stopped doing the things we’d done really well until then,” said Furness.
“We were unhappy with their second goal – sometimes a foul is given on the keeper in those circumstances.”
It looked as if it would be a stroll for Moors when Lewis Dodds set up former Durham player Steve Richardson to tap in on 12 minutes, but City levelled from the penalty spot through Olly Hodgkiss after Scott Fenwick was fouled.
City slowly got on top, and after Spennymoor keeper Robbie Dean somehow pushed a 30-yard Connor Winter lob against the bar, City took the lead when Paul Dixon cut in from the left and unleashed a powerful strike that beat Dean.
But City lost their way when a high cross from the right was fumbled by keeper Gareth Young under pressure, and Andrew Stephenson, another former Durham player, fired in through a crowd of players.
Young kept City level with a full-length save from Gavin Cogdon’s penalty, but from the corner that followed, substitute Mark Davison headed the winner from six yards.
Spennymoor manager Jason Ainsley said: “I thought Durham were the better side in the second half until we equalised. Our subs made a big difference.”
Moors now have three tough away games coming up, against Whitley Bay, Dunston and Shildon. They are also due to announce this week whether they will apply for promotion to the Evo-Stick League for the first time.
West Auckland are still in clear third after hammering South Shields 6-0 at Darlington Road, scoring all their goals in the second half.
Mattie Moffat headed home then John Campbell scored the goal of the game from a free-kick. Adam Rundle grabbed the third, Moffat went on to complete his hattrick and Matthew Coad added another.
Whitley Bay moved into fourth after beating Consett 1- 0. The winner came on 11 minutes when Ash Davis ran from the halfway line past three defenders and set up Paul Chow to volley home. Consett then had the better of the game, but didn’t create many chances.
Bedlington lost 4-2 at home to Celtic Nation, whose player- manager Steve Skinner put his side in front from a free kick. Paul Brayson levelled from the spot, but Dean Douglas and Michael Reed made it 3-1 at half-time. Douglas also volleyed the fourth.
Kieran Megran scored a hat-trick as Bishop Auckland enjoyed a 6-2 home win over Billingham Town.
Jamie Harwood scored after Andrew Johnson’s shot was blocked, then Megran scored in a goalmouth scramble.
Town pulled a goal back when Nicky Martin broke free and fired home but Bishops hit top form and went 3-1 up when Dan Hawkins scored a 30- yarder from another Johnson pass. Harwood created the fourth for Megran, then Hawkins got the fifth with eight minutes left. Megran completed his hat-trick before Stephen Flockett scored a late consolation.
Shildon overcame their injury problems to beat Penrith 4-1. Chris Hughes put them in the lead from the penalty spot after a foul on Ben Wood, then Jamie Owens got the second from a corner.
Owens provided the pass for Wood to make it three, and they got their fourth when Ben Wood broke clear and set up Robbie Briggs.
Dunston won 3-0 at Hebburn, the goals coming from Andy Bulford, Dale Burrell and Darlington target Terry Galbraith.
Newton Aycliffe’s good run ended when they were beaten 5-1 at Guisborough, for whom Mikey Roberts had a hand in goals by Lewis Wood and Austin Johnson, and also scored himself.
Gary Wood scored from close range before Thomas Hinchley headed Aycliffe back into the game. Former Aycliffe player Jamie Poole also scored for Guisborough.
Marske United continued their climb towards safety with a 2-1 home win over Newcastle Benfield.
The visitors took the lead through Nicky Deverdics , but Marske levelled on 78 minutes when Jordan Hugill scored direct from a free kick. Benfield’s recent signing, Steven Brown, saw a penalty saved by Marske keeper Olly West, before Lev Yalcin scored a spectacular winner from 35 yards.
Two first division games were abandoned because of fog at half-time. Billingham Synthonia and Sunderland RCA were goalless, while Ashington were 3-1 up at Norton.
Second division leaders Ryhope CW scored three times in the first half to beat Brandon 3-0. They took the lead with a 15th minute penalty by Johnny Butler, his 27th league goal of the season, then Nathan Johnson headed the second. Recent signing Lee McMahon fired the third on 35 minutes.
Second-placed Northallerton won 4-1 at West Allotment.
Adam Emson and Carl Chillingsworth scored two each.
Crook are level on points with Northallerton after beating Whitehaven 4-1. Keeper Barry Poskett saved an early penalty then blocked the follow up, but he had no chance when Tymon fired the Cumbrians into the lead.
Robbie Bird levelled for Crook, then in the last ten minutes Kyle Davis and Craig Price scored.
Seaham Red Star returned to form with a 6-0 home win over Stokesley, Paul Kane (2), Craig Malley, Channon North, Richard Stubbs and Kris Goss the scorers.
Jarrow Roofing inflicted a rare away defeat on Tow Law by 3-0, Dan Smart scoring a hat-trick.
Darlington RA slipped to seventh after they were beaten 1-0 at home by Washington, Lee Hamilton scoring with a header in the first-half.
Morpeth won 3-0 at Birtley thanks to a hat-trick by Micky Chilton.
Thornaby stunned Esh Winning with a 5-0 win at Waterhouses.
Gary Mitchell (2), Paul Callan, Rocky Andrews and Liam O’Mahoney scored.
Horden lost 3-1 at home to Ryton, despite Jack Pounder giving them the lead. Ryton’s goals came from Robert Ruddick (2) and Brian Dodsworth